SAHF Comments on Proposed Amendments to "Public Charge" Assessment
On September 22, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a draft proposed rule on their website, which seeks to change the way in which the agency determines whether an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge.” Noncitizens can be considered a public charge if they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, and, therefore, can be deemed inadmissible or denied a green card. This proposed rule directly affects immigrants and their families applying for and receiving public housing and Section 8 rental assistance. As drafted, the rule departs from longstanding immigration policy by making it more likely for certain immigrants to be deemed public charges because they have received, currently receive, or could receive certain kinds of public benefits.
As a collaborative of mission-driven nonprofits that provide affordable homes and resident services to people of all ages and backgrounds, we see firsthand the transformational impact a safe, healthy, and stable home has in allowing our residents to access opportunity, overcome adversity, participate in their communities, and make outstanding contributions to our country. We believe that the proposed amendments to the “public charge” rule would penalize noncitizens who utilize housing assistance programs and potentially citizens in their families and would also undermine the effectiveness of the critical investments we make in our residents. We urge the rule to be withdrawn in its entirety.